Friday, August 29, 2014

The best sporting event on TV last night?

It wasn't the Red Sox, who had Thursday night off to travel to Tampa as they play out the string.  And it wasn't the Patriots, who took the field in New York for their fourth and final preseason game (the most meaningless of all of their exhibitions).  It wasn't even college football's opening night, which included #21 Texas A&M pulling off a surprising blowout win at #9 South Carolina.

No, the best sporting event on TV last night was a 15-year-old kid's tennis match at the U.S. Open.  On Tuesday, CiCi Bellis upset the #12 seed in the first round and became the youngest player to win at the Open since 1996.  By Thursday the 1,208th ranked player in the world had a huge following.  Scheduled for the final match of the day session on one of the side courts, when play ran long she ended up in prime time on ESPN2.

After dropping the first set to 48th-ranked Zarina Diyas 6-3, Bellis went on an amazing seven-game run to capture the second 6-0, and take a 1-0 lead in the third.  The New York crowd was going berserk, erupting time and time again with each big point the American teenager won.

Eventually Bellis fell 6-2 in the third set, but not before stealing the show at the Open's first week.  She qualified for the tournament by winning the 18-and-under junior nationals (the youngest to do that since 1991), and is still scheduled to take the court in the U.S. Open's junior event.  Playing in her first pro tourney, Bellis will not claim her $60,000 in prize money in order to keep her amateur status and remain eligible to play in college.

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